Last week we ran a post called Why Nobody’s Talking About Community Anymore, which came to certain conclusions about the quality of the series this year and raised a bit of a ruckus. In keeping with our equal time policy – which just started today, but hey – we’re pleased us, um, punch to present another point of view:
by Pilot Viruet
The sixth season of Community should have been its biggest and most celebrated. Long before it existed, before it was even a real possibility, it was already the subject of a joking-but-not-really-joking hashtag that began in Season 2’s “Paradigms of Human Memory,” with Abed’s passing reference to The Cape. “Six seasons and a movie” was the rallying cry of fans who believed, accurately, that Community was good enough to run for several more years, despite what NBC (and the ratings) said. And against all odds — Dan Harmon’s firing and subsequent rehiring, a gas-leak season, and even a cancellation — that sixth season did happen and is currently airing. But the fanfare around the series seems to have died down.
It’s a curious development, albeit one that is easy to explain. There is, of course, the fact that Community now airs on a streaming site, Yahoo Screen (which is difficult to navigate and features a less-than-stellar video player), rather than on a broadcast network. But Community has always been fueled by the Internet — I can’t imagine it would have lasted five seasons on NBC, let alone been rescued by Yahoo, if not for the intensity of its fans on social media, who delighted in hashtags and quoted every line and took over A.V. Club comment sections. So it should be just as equipped as any other show to thrive online.
Perhaps the bigger problem is that we’ve been conditioned to consume Internet-only shows in one particular way: the binge-viewing model, in which every episode of a season is released at once for quick, obsessive, mass consumption. The Fridays when Netflix unleashes a new season are some of the most fun and communal moments on TV Twitter, as everyone watches and comments in real time, inviting others to join in the conversation. (These Fridays are also probably the worst for those who can’t drop everything and binge-watch, as they have to deflect spoilers all day.)
Community, unlike Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or even Yahoo Screen’sother comedies, is releasing its episodes in a decidedly more traditional style that replicates the way viewers consumed the show on TV: one a week, every Tuesday. It’s almost easy to forget that there is a new episode every week — the 3AM release time doesn’t help, either — and because we’re all watching it in our own time, there’s no more of the collective Twitter love that we used to experience while live-tweeting episodes on NBC. We’re watching the episodes at a different pace, viewing jokes at different times, or maybe even waiting to binge on all of them at the end of the season.